History of Interpreting Services in the U.S.
Ensuring Equal Access in Language Interpretation and Translation Services
Equal opportunity in communication had its beginnings in the United States nearly 50 years ago. Title VI of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 was an outgrowth of civil rights, and encompassed equal access to not only those with physical challenges, but also those with hearing and speech barriers.
In 1998, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended by the Workforce Investment Act, addressed the issues of equal access to electronic and information technology and data. This required any organization receiving federal assistance to comply with 508 regulations, enabling those with limited English proficiency (LEP) to have “comparable to the access to and use of the information and data by such members of the public who are not individuals with disabilities.”
In 2000, Presidential Executive Order 13166 reinforced the commitment of the federal government to improve access to services for persons with LEP, with the goal of “promoting programs and activities designed to help individuals learn English.” The order directs each Federal agency to examine the services it provides and develop and implement a system by which “LEP persons can meaningfully access those services consistent with, and without unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency.”
Both Section 508 and Executive Order 13166 compliance is overseen by the U.S. Justice Department, Civil Rights Division.
As a language services provider, Certified Languages International helps government agencies meet compliance with these directives.
Preparing for Future Needs of Language Interpretation
CLI is committed to helping organizations ensure equal access in communication. CLI analysts study immigration trends, anticipate interpretation needs and prepare for customer demand by continually expanding its language services and team of language interpreters, often before the first request for a particular language. Anticipating the needs of our customers is a hallmark of CLI.